In those days was Hezekiah sick to death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, Thus said the LORD…
The time will of necessity come when to every man that lives these words will be spoken: God Himself will speak them in the manifest dealings of his providence, making this known to us in some way which our own hearts will instinctively interpret. Why should we be afraid to think of death!
1. Do you reply that there is in man a natural love of life? No doubt there is. But what, then, is that true life which lies beyond, and to which the act of departure, which we call death, is but the entrance?
2. Or, do you say that we are naturally repelled from mortality, and that we shrink from thinking of the lifeless and decaying flesh? I admit it, and there is a necessary and wholesome lesson in the bitterness of it, for how should we know what sin was without some little conception of what death was? But I plead that this is but for a time, till the body shall rise again in glory. The horror is to those who live and watch the dead.
3. Or, do you say that you fear death because it will stop for ever all the schemes and activities of life? Do you think that the state into which we shall enter will be a passive calm? Every hint and word in Scripture appears to me to point to something very different.
4. Or, do you say that you shrink from the idea of never seeing again the blue skies and the sweet flowers, and losing all the sights and sounds that make this world beautiful? Again, I think that you are wrong. Certainly all the imagery of the Bible suggests a different conclusion.
5. Or, do you say that you dread death because you cannot bear to think of parting from those you love, and losing that sweet intercourse, and that happy interchange of mutual affection, which spring from love? Well, all separation is painful; but in itself, and of necessity, this separation need only be for a time — a brief parting, with an eternal reunion beyond it, when, free from the little hindrances that mar a perfect love on earth, we shall renew a pure affection, consecrated for ever by the seen presence of God.
6. Do you say that you dread to think of death because you are not certain of your state before God? Ah! here we reach the deepest secret of all, the true source of the uneasiness with which men think of their mortality. "The sting of death is sin," &c. The Eternal Father is ready to forgive; the Eternal Son sufficient to atone; the Eternal Spirit almighty to convert and sanctify; all ready; nay, all pleading, inviting, expostulating, entreating.
7. Do you say that you dread to think of death because the thought saddens and darkens life? Surely this is no longer true, if, accepted in Christ Jesus, we have peace with God.
(E. Garbett, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.